updated 1/27/2009 7:29:12 AM ET 2009-01-27T12:29:12

There has been a sharp rise in the number of cholera cases in Zimbabwe with the death tollĀ  nearing 3,000, the United Nations said Tuesday.

The U.N. humanitarian office said 2,817 new cases were reported Monday, taking the cumulative number of infections since the outbreak began to 56,123.

The U.N. said Tuesday that a total of 2,971 people were reported to have died by Monday. The figure represents an increase of 102 deaths on the previous day.

The global body said more than one person in every 20 who contract cholera in Zimbabwe is dying of the disease. The usual mortality rate for large-scale outbreaks is 1 in 100.

The outbreak began in August and spread rapidly because of Zimbabwe's poorly maintained infrastructure and crumbling health care system.

More on Zimbabwe | cholera

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